Success Stories

Lilian Radke: Navigating the SBA Resource Partner Network for Success!

 Expert Advice, Certifications and SBA Lender Match

The SBA is making it easier than ever for women entrepreneurs to access resources.

The newly reimagined SBA is modernizing its’ service delivery experience so entrepreneurs like Lilian Radke, can efficiently connect to government contracting opportunities and lending programs.

Recently launched is Certify.SBA.Gov – an online portal that allows entrepreneurs to prescreen for certification eligibility and streamlines the application process for federal contracting programs. 

Also new is – an online referral tool that connects entrepreneurs with SBA-approved lenders through a streamlined business loan application process.

In recent years, Lilian Radke has taken advantage of both programs to propel the rapid growth of her company, Unic Pro – expanding her client portfolio at a rate of about 45%... Read More

Against all obstacles – Melville Candy Company continues carrying on a family tradition with original recipes started over 75 years ago by Great-Uncles George Flynn and Kenny Melville and later perfected by Gary's dad, Francis Melville.

After decades of survival through several recessions, credit crises and a slowing manufacturing industry – Melville Candy is thriving.  The company still manufactures candy by hand even today – employing over 150 candy-makers at their new factory in Randolph, Massachusetts with a little help from the SBA.  


Iron Worker to Confectioner
In 1978, Gary Melville was going through some tough times and was laid off as an iron worker; that’s when he knew it was time to go out on his own and start his own candy business.  It was family love affair – Gary’s uncles, George Flynn and Kenny Melville used to own and operate retail candy stores around the Boston area from the 1940’s to the 1970’s.  Now it was Gary’s turn to follow in... Read More

By Norman Eng, Public Information Officer

A Women's History Month Success Story

(Image courtesy of: Vision's Sown: An Ancient Baking Company)


In 2002, Tonya Johnson’s 15-month old son was diagnosed with recurring anemia, suffering from acute malnutrition and multiple food allergies.  Tonya had to learn a new way to care for her son, and discovered that introducing nutrient dense, allergen friendly and easy to digest foods to his diet –helped stabilize his fragile health condition.  After developing special recipes that helped her son to recover – Tonya and her mother started Vision's Sown, An Ancient Vegan Baking Company. 

While looking for ways to grow her business, Tonya began researching small business assistance programs and came across the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program.  Attracted by the business resources offered, Tonya set out to apply in the fall of 2005; however, the mother-daughter team’s initial 8(a) application did... Read More

By Oreste Varela, SBA Springfield Branch Manager

A Western Massachusetts Success Story

(Image courtesy of: Berkshire Brewing Company) 


Gary Bogoff was a general contractor and cabinet maker prior to launching Berkshire Brewing Company in 1994.  What started out as a hobby in 1991, took Gary and his co-founders on a journey that they could not possibly imagine.   

A key skill Gary developed as a contractor and cabinet maker was to ask lots of questions.  During the genesis of his business, it was the local business assistance network that answered his questions about the possibilities of owning his beer company.  He started with the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce who were very helpful and referred him to the Franklin County Community Development Corporation for more advice.  The business support community next connected him to the Western Regional Office of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center.  The assistance from all... Read More